Monday, March 27, 2006

From Curmudgeonly To Contemptible

National Review's painfully public self-immolation continues. A few recent tidbits from John Derbyshire, the latest on March 21st:
One doesn’t want to be accused of inhuman callousness; but I am willing to confess, and believe I speak for a lot of THWTHs (and a lot of other Americans, too) that the spectacle of Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering each other is one that I find I can contemplate with calm composure.
And for those who might have missed it, this on March 3rd:
In between our last two posts I went to Drudge to see what was happening in the world. The lead story was about a ship disaster in the Red Sea. From the headline picture, it looked like a cruise ship. I therefore assumed that some people very much like the Americans I went cruising with last year were the victims. I went to the news story. A couple of sentences in, I learned that the ship was in fact a ferry, the victims all Egyptians. I lost interest at once, and stopped reading. I don't care about Egyptians.
To note, as I did last month in this post, that this atavistic tripe is contrary to the dynamic that underpins capitalism and free trade is to point out only one part of the problem here. In 2001, National Review severed its relationship with Ann Coulter after she wrote two typically bombastic pieces. Jonah Goldberg told WaPo's Howard Kurtz: "We didn't feel we wanted to be associated with the comments expressed in those two columns." I've always viewed Coulter's rants as profoundly unserious as well as in poor taste; I believe that most of what she spews is simply the product of an empty mind laboring to produce something substantive or thoughtful. I consider Derbyshire's rants to be in poor taste as well, but I also have no doubt that he believes deeply in what he writes. Farcically unserious bombast, and deadly serious xenophobia---which is worse?

John Derbyshire is free to write and speak his mind, of course. But Ann Coulter was as well, and National Review decided that it didn't wish to associate itself with her. Unless NR's editors think mistakenly that their once-proud institution still has room to fall, it's time for them to show Derbyshire the door as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But he doesn't appear intemperate, so it's okay. Do you suppose the editors disagree with him?

3/27/2006 10:23 AM  
Blogger Tlaloc said...

While I'm the last person to stand up for the NR I do have to admit that of the various liars, idiots, and inbred mutants that work there Derb is the only one who seems on occasion to make sense.

As for his quotes, the second one (regarding the cruise ship) strikes me as slightlky tacky but not wrong per se. We all have regions of interest. Personally I'm much more interested in Asia and the Middle Est, than say Africa or Europe. Consequently a news story of lesser significance from the regions I'm interested in I may notice when an analagous piece from an area I don't care about as much may get ignored. Even when they involve death.

I think that was all he was saying. And there may be a larger lesson here about how people relate to information and tragedy on a world scale, but it doesn't make him a xenophobe.

As for the first quote, well it is certainly more troubling and can be easily interpreted as rcist and xenophobic. But it can also be interpreted in the light of some reports of foreign insurgents and religious fundamentalists turning on each other in Iraq. Whether the reports are true is of course another matter. But if you have some imported terrorist and some native born theocrat who are both happy to blow up innocents and they decide to kill each other, do you shed any tears?

Maybe that's what he meant, maybe not. Derb is certainly blunt, which can make it a bit unclear because our shock at how he says things leads us to conclude that the subject of what he said is worse than what was meant.

3/27/2006 11:44 AM  
Blogger Tequila said...

Derbyshire has a sharp mind and he's a decent writer, plus he got beat up by Bruce Lee for a movie once.

That being said, he's a racist git in many ways. He once wrote something in NR along the lines of how once his wife and he were looking for a new house. Upon being given an address where they saw a few too many black people, they immediately fled without even viewing the place. He said this quite proudly. He's also a defender of the Abu Ghraib torturers.

3/28/2006 4:52 AM  
Blogger Progger said...

Ann "The Man" Coulter, O'Reilly, Rush Limbo, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the conservative mouthpieces are for the most part raving racists. This is who they are. Conservatives need to accept this.

3/28/2006 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should check Derbyshire's computer for child porn, since he extolls the attractiveness of young teen girls.

what a piece of **it

3/28/2006 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derb is the only writer at NRO worth reading. He is a racist, but he seems like an honest racist. I'd much rather read someone who puts all their cards on the table than mealymouthed gits like JPod or Goldberg.

3/28/2006 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Derb's column today. He is actually supporting the notion that in a civilian democracy it is OK to criticize the military. He may have some old-fashioned crackpot views, but on balance he's by far the best NRO has.

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